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Rotarians make annual delivery of dictionaries to local students

By Staff | Oct 12, 2011

Annie Franke’s third grade class poses for a group picture with members of the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club on Dictionary Day.

Third grade students at The Sanibel School received a wonderful gift that will last as long as they can read. Last Friday, members of the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club presented 42 students with a new paperback Rotary Student Dictionary, as part of Dictionary Day.

For more than a decade, Sanibel-Captiva Rotarians have been dedicated to encouraging the full potential of literacy on the islands in tribute to Rotary International’s literacy projects worldwide. To be literate, no matter the language, is the foundation of education. The ability to read and write can open doors to once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

District 6960, which covers seven Southwest Florida counties including Lee, handed out thousands of English and bilingual dictionaries to third grade students in honor of Dictionary Day.

“Put your name in them,” longtime Rotarian and former club president Alex Werner told the excited students. “They are yours to keep and use.”

As the students eagerly riffled through the pages, they discovered the book of words contained more than definitions. They found it had geography, history, sign language illustrations and Braille. The lexicon also boasts the world’s longest word, a medical term containing more than 1,000 letters.

Karson Bechtel and Frankie Tata were among the third graders to receive free dictionaries last week from the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club.

“They are already learning how to use a dictionary,” said third grade teacher Annie Franke, who was delighted her students now have one of their own. “We use them to look up multiple meanings of words, as well as the proper uses of words and parts of speech.”

Werner told the students there were 1.3 million people in Rotary across the globe.

“And we believe in literacy,” he added.

He also reminded the young students about the Rotary 4-Way Test, which is not only imprinted inside each dictionary but also appears on the wall in the school’s cafetorium.

Is the truth?

Is it fair to all concerned?

Will is build goodwill and better friendships?

Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

“It is very important for our students to have their own dictionary,” said principal Barbara Von Harten. “They are useful in third grade curriculum, plus it’s great to see their faces light up.”

Rotarians Frank Hagen, Joel Ospa, Scott Congress, Lee Almas, Warner Byrum, Robert Monk and the Rev. John Danner joined Werner in presenting the dictionaries at The Sanibel School. Individual clubs order and purchase the dictionaries, with this year marking the 11th year on Sanibel.